Tiruchirapalli

Will Tiruchi get another integrated market?

The Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi is not fully operational as Gandhi Market traders refused to shift their operations citing distance from Tiruchi.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

While the stalemate persists over reopening of Gandhi Market that remained closed since the third week of March in the wake of spread of COVID-19 virus and the subsequent public interest litigation in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking to shift the wholesale traders of Gandhi Market to Kallikudi market, the district administration has begun informal consultation on establishing yet another integrated market.

The move comes in the wake of demand from various quarters and traders to set up an integrated market in the close vicinity of the city as an alternative to the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi, where most traders refuse to shift citing long distance.

“I have held a preliminary consultation with officials of the Tiruchi City Corporation on the feasibility of establishing one more integrated market on the outskirts of the city. We need to factor in various aspects before coming to a conclusion on the issue,” Collector S. Sivarasu told The Hindu.

There were a few sites available including one at Panjappur. The merits and demerits of the sites would have to be analysed in detail, said Mr. Sivarasu without elaborating further.

The move reflects yet another dimension of the issue of shifting of wholesale trading activities from Gandhi Market to Kallikudi, where the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers was constructed on 9.79 acres at a cost of ₹77 crore with the funding of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It was formally opened in September 2017. But contending that the market was located far away from the city, most Gandhi Market traders refused to shift their operations to Kallikudi.

In order to make use of the facility, the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business had decided to allot some of the shops in the complex to Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs), Farmers Producers Groups (FPGs) and Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) so as to provide them a marketing outlet. The District Market Committee, functioning under the department, subsequently allotted 104 shops to 52 FIGs, FPGs and FPOs. Each group was allotted two shops at nominal rent. The shops were allotted only to active groups and the allotment was done by a district-level selection committee. They began selling vegetables by bringing their produce from the fields.

Though the Kallikudi market is functioning partially with a group of farmer-traders, the purpose of shifting the Gandhi Market to the new market has not yet been achieved due to the stiff opposition of traders, who operate at the temporary market being functioned at G. Corner, which was set up to prevent the people gathering in large number at Gandhi Market to contain the spread of COVID-19. The traders have been urging the district administration to reopen Gandhi Market, citing the dip in COVID-19 cases. However, the district administration has little say as the High Court is seized of the matter.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:02:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/will-tiruchi-get-another-integrated-market/article33134179.ece

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